Premier celebrates seas change at Tugun

BOTTOMS up, Anna Bligh.

The Queensland Premier had the honour of being the first to taste the water from Tugun's new $1.2 billion desalination plant yesterday.

Premier Bligh smiled as she took the first sip, the product of two years work on the former landfill site, saying the treated sea water "tastes great".

Ms Bligh joined thousands of others yesterdaysun touring the new facility as part of an open day at the new site, and learned how the plant worked.

"A little over two years ago I was here turning the first sod," premier Bligh said.

"For the first time in our history we have a source of drinking water that does not rely on rainfall.

"It's part of our plan to drought-proof Queensland."

The Gold Coast Desalination Project, part of the $9 billion south-east Queensland water grid, will provide drinkable water to the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Despite the open day yesterday, water will not be pumped into Gold Coast water until January.

The Premier said there were last-minute delays in construction.

"Even so the project team is working flat out to meet the January 15 target to have this plant producing its full capacity of 125 megalitres of water into our drinking supplies," she said.

"This is still a very exciting day for south-east Queensland. We want to be prepared not only for now but for 50 years from now."

Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey slammed Ms Bligh, calling the delay in the plant's operation an "election campaign photo opportunity" for next year.

"The Premier's water commission has stated 40 megalitres of desalinated water a day would be pumped into the south-east Queensland water grid from November 30," Ms Stuckey said.

"But the Premier was very cagey and refused to say if the plant would be switched on. I strongly suspect her campaign team behind the delay in the official opening."

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